4,000 judges and prosecutors dismissed, justice minister says

4,000 judges and prosecutors dismissed, justice minister says

4,000 judges and prosecutors dismissed, justice minister says

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Some 4,000 judges and prosecutors have been dismissed as part of a probe against the Fethullahist Terrorist Organization (FETÖ) since the July 15, 2016, coup attempt, Justice Minister Bekir Bozdağ said May 26.

“More than 4,000 judges and prosecutors were removed from the profession due to membership, contact or affiliation with FETÖ in the Turkish judiciary,” Bozdağ said.

Bozdağ made the comments in a ceremony addressing Supreme Board of Judges and Prosecutors (HSYK) members during which new public prosecutors will be chosen by the casting of lots.

“The first place which started fighting FETÖ was the Turkish judiciary. It was the members of the organization who experienced and saw the unlawfulness, injustice and threat within their own organization,” Bozdağ said.

“After the HSYK elections, this struggle continued in accordance with the law,” he said, adding that the board had completed the initial process concerning the “cleansing of FETÖ members from the judiciary.”

“The HSYK has finished its investigation. There are no judges and prosecutors who have not been examined yet,” he said.

“Of course, due to the structure of this organization [FETÖ], there is no possibility to say that there will be no further examinations [later] because this organization has a very unique terror cover,” he said.

With the constitutional amendment approved on April 16, the HSYK’s name was changed to the Board of Judges and Prosecutors (HSK), while the number of members was reduced from 22 to 13. The change will go into effect when the current members’ term ends on June 7, 2016.

CHP’s censure motion on Bozdağ rejected

Meanwhile, a censure motion by the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) on Bozdağ was rejected in a parliamentary vote on May 24.

The CHP submitted the censure motion against Bozdağ on May 11 on the grounds that the majority of the names of the new list of judges are affiliated with the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP).

“We have submitted a censure motion on Justice Minister Bozdağ who has influenced the Turkish judicial system through partisanship,” the CHP’s Levent Gök said May 11.

The motion was rejected by a parliamentary vote of 268 to 105 late on May 24.

“Why didn’t you list all those 800 judges [that you have argued that are affiliated with the AKP]?” Bozdağ said. “If there are 800 judges from the AKP, an honorable and frank person would reveal it to the public. I want all those 800 judges and prosecutors. If you can give those names, I will quit my position as a lawmaker,” Bozdağ said amid raised voices from opposition desks shouting “resign!”

“You are lying, you are casting slander. These are candidates for judges and prosecutors,” Bozdağ said.

European MP’s letter on Gülmen and Özakça

Bozdağ also blasted 62 members of the European Parliament who sent a letter to Bozdağ on May 23 to express their concerns over the detention and then arrest of two educators, Nuriye Gülmen and Semih Özakça, who have been on hunger strike for 79 days to demand they be reinstated in their posts after being dismissed by decree laws.

“Gülmen and Özakça were arbitrarily detained after a midnight police raid at their houses on Monday. We thereby demand their immediate release,” the letter read.

“Turkey’s judiciary is independent,” he said. “They are demanding their immediate release. Your wish is my command! All of these are decisions of the judiciary. As a justice minister, it is out of the question for me to intervene in the judiciary. It is not possible for me to give orders. Turkey’s judiciary has conducted their duty in an independent, impartial and lawful manner in accordance with conscientious manners, and they will continue to do so.”